DISTINGUISHED ARTIST RECIPIENT, 2017 GOVERNOR’S ARTS AWARDS
Amy Grant is credited for putting the genre of Contemporary Christian music on the mainstream map. She was the first Contemporary Christian artist to have a platinum record, the first to reach No. 1 on the Pop charts and the first to perform at the Grammy Awards. She has since earned six Grammy Awards and numerous Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, as well as three multi-platinum albums, six platinum albums and four gold albums. Grant has achieved ten Top 40 Pop singles and placed 17 hits on the Top 40 Adult Contemporary chart, as well as scoring numerous hits on the Contemporary Christian charts. Having sold over 30 million units worldwide, Grant remains the best-selling contemporary Christian singer of all time.
It all began when Grant was 16 years old. She’d just written her first song titled “Mountain Man.” After recording a demo tape with her church youth leader, Brown Bannister, Grant was soon garnering the attention of a recording studio in Nashville, which would help her launch her first record, Amy Grant, just one month before her high school graduation. Following her first record, Grant would go on to sing hits such as “In A Little While” and “El Shaddai,” which later would be awarded one of the Songs of the Century. The 1982 album, Age to Age, became the first Christian album by a solo artist to be certified gold in 1983 and the first Christian album to be certified platinum in 1985.
In 1986 she had her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 in a duet with Peter Cetera, “The Next Time I Fall.” Grant was becoming more famous in the world of pop with such albums as Unguarded and Lead Me On, but the record that would make Grant a crossover sensation was Heart in Motion, which produced the hit singles “Baby Baby,” “Every Heartbeat,” “That’s What Love Is For” and “Good for Me”—all of which made it into the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, with the first two reaching No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. It remains Grant’s most commercially successful album to date, having been certified five times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
A Christmas album, Home for Christmas, was released shortly afterward, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard 200, her highest album entry to date. Grant went on to release the albums House of Love and Behind the Eyes in the mid-90s. Her first full-length studio album of all-new material since 2003, How Mercy Looks from Here, was released on May 14, 2013. In 2015 Grant released Be Still and Know, considered a fresh take on the timeless hymns of the church. In 2016 Grant released her fourth Christmas album, Tennessee Christmas, which was her 17th consecutive album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Sales Chart and Top 10 Billboard Christmas Sales Chart.
A longtime and active Nashville resident, Grant is as well known for her philanthropy as her music. She is tireless in her efforts to aid worthy causes such as Barefoot Republic, The American Red Cross, Compassion International and many other local and national charities.
Special thanks to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Edited by Christie Caldwell. Directed by Suzanne Lynch.